Several weeks ago I shared with you that we were in the process of working through the initial phases of the building process. We have been diligently working with our site engineer to determine exactly what kind of space we have to work with, and the exact amount of square footage we can actually build within the limits that we have. It’s been a very exciting but taxing process and I deeply appreciate your prayers as we continue to look at design concepts and begin getting an idea of how much it will cost us to take the next step in fulfilling the vision that God has given us to “Glorify God as an effective and influential church!”
I am so excited about this process and I am amazed at the incredibly smart and helpful outside people that God has surrounded us with to guide us on this momentous journey of faith! We’ve got some awesome things planned for this Fall as we begin to unveil what God is calling us to do. I’ve already seen God work in some amazing ways and move some mountains that we weren’t sure how to overcome. Each of these ‘obstacles’ have been moments that have tested our resolve, our faith, and to be quite honest…our patience!
Although most of these stories will have to wait until the Fall I’d like to share one exciting obstacle that we’ve already found our way around. As we delved deeper and deeper into this process we realized that it was going to take us much longer than we anticipated to complete all the pre-construction and the construction phase. This in itself was a little discouraging, because we are so excited about this next phase, but it was also causing us to have a little concern because we are continuing to grow at such a rapid rate that we very well might outgrow our building before our new building was finished. Our biggest concern was our children’s ministry which is already operating at about 90% capacity. Considering that we’ve been consistently growing by about 25-30% over the last two years, the likelihood that we would more than max out our available space was very real. Especially in our back room where we are averaging over 30 kids in the 10:30 service…process that for a moment: 30 K – 5th graders in the same room for an hour!
So, late last week we made a pretty significant decision that will allow us to continue grow. We will be converting the current office space on the right side of the foyer back into kid’s space for Sunday morning ministry and for our preschool and childcare. This move allows us to split the back room into older and younger kids and allow us to do ministry to them more effectively since it will be a smaller age bracket. It also gives Friendship Kids Childcare additional space to grow by another 20 or so kids. By the way, they are already at capacity this Summer and at about 90% for the Fall, how cool is that!
The biggest change will be with us as a staff. Since our office space will be gone, Dustin, Traci, and myself will be going mobile. Essentially, we will be working either in our home offices or at various locations when we meet with people. This will not be an easy transition, but we believe that if we do it right it will be a smooth one, and give us the necessary room to continue to reach people for Jesus Christ; which is what it’s all about!
Over the next couple of weeks as you stop by the church building you’ll notice that we are cleaning out our offices and beginning to move furniture into storage. As a part of that move Dustin and I have been going through our libraries and setting aside books that we have read or we now have in digital format and set them out on a table in the back of the auditorium. As you can see we have well over 100 copies of books and we are giving them away to you our church. If you see a book you would like to read, take it! We want you to use them as a tool to help you grow spiritually mature as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Well, I think that’s all for this installment! Keep praying, keep believing, and keep living like Christ!
Well, it’s been a busy couple of months around Friendship Church! For the most part that explains why I took a two month absence from posting another blog post. Besides all of the normal stuff that happens I’ve been doing a lot of preparation work for our future building project.
To give you a little background on how we got here; two years ago we were looking at our growth and realized that very soon we’d be out of space in our building. We talked extensively at that time and actually met with a small group of men, all of whom are elders today at Friendship, and prayed through, talked through, and did research on whether or not we should consider building. At that time we decided that it would be a better use of our resources to begin doing two services, even though all of the “experts” told us we wouldn’t be successful. We believed that was what God was calling us to do. It was a HUGE step of faith, and I’ll be very transparent and say, I was nervous! We launched our two services for the first time in March of last year, a little over a year ago. Since then we’ve grown by 35% or almost 100 people, we’ve seen over 50 people come to know Christ, disciple over 120 through our Workshops! Suffice it to say, it was obviously the right decision and God has blessed us beyond measure.
So far this year we are running just shy of 300 people each weekend, and our kid’s ministry is packed to the gills! If we continue growing anywhere near our current pace, we will outgrow our facilities in a year or less. We’ve spent the last several months, praying, talking, and researching all of our options and we are confident that this time we need to build. Right now we are in the slow, not very exciting, phase of the process. We’ve been talking with financial people and getting ourselves in the best position possible; we’ve had quite a bit of site engineering done, to make sure we know all the potential “surprises” that may come up; and we’ve met with the City of Greenwood to find out there…um…demands ( I jest of course, they’ve actually been very helpful). All in all the process is going along very smoothly and we are excited for this next phase to begin!
Here’s how you can be praying:
- Wisdom: we are going to be making a lot of decisions as we continue to move forward, and we’ve got a tremendous group of elders. However, you can never, ever pray or have enough wisdom when making decisions that will have such a significant impact as this potentially could.
- Vision: one of the reasons that I believe God has blessed Friendship is because we are constantly moving forward towards our vision of “Glorifying God as an Effective and Influential Church”. We don’t want to become so bog down in decisions and details that we stop pursuing the vision.
- Faith: God is doing some pretty amazing things, and I’ve been around long enough to know that when God is moving He’s going to ask us to take some pretty big steps, which means we’ve got to have some pretty deep faith.
- Focus: All of us elders have full-time jobs where we have responsibilities, and on top of that our families. Times like this demand a lot of meetings, and extra hours of reading and research. It can become overwhelming, and cause us to lose focus or get frustrated. I don’t know about you, but no decisions I’ve ever made when frustrated worked out well!
Thanks for praying for us and for the future of Friendship Church! That’s all for now, but keep an eye open for the next update…